29-year-old Pilot Becomes the First Female Marine to Fly the Stealth F-35B and Is Ready for Combat

August 20, 2019 Updated: August 21, 2019

It has certainly been a year of firsts for women pilots in the U.S. Marine Corps. The first woman ever to fly the brand-spanking-new stealth F-35B is combat-ready after completing her final basic F-35 training earlier this month.

Now, Captain Anneliese Satz is heading to Iwakuni, Japan, in order to join the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, also known as the “Green Knights.”

On June 27, the 29-year-old captain completed her basic syllabus on flying STOVL (short takeoff and vertical landing) versions of the F-35 Lightning II at the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) in Beaufort, South Carolina.

A commercial helicopter pilot from Idaho has become the first woman in the Marine Corps to fly an F-35 fighter jet, a…

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Her first introduction to the F-35 was in July 2018, when she arrived in Beaufort with the Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 (UMFAT-501). After some preparation, her first flight was in October 2018.

“The first flight in an F-35 is by yourself,” she said in a press release, per National Interest. “It’s an exhilarating experience.”

Satz is one of a relatively small number of trained F-35 pilots. As of February, there were only 86 trained out of an authorized limit of 263 slots for the 5th-generation fighter jet, according to the Marine Times.

Navy Hitchhiker An F-35B Lightning II, assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211, launches from the flight deck…

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Over Iwo JimaLt. Col. Richard Rusnok, commanding officer of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121, flies an F-35B…

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Prior to joining the Marines, Satz was trained as a commercial helicopter pilot, flying Robinson R44s. She’s spent the last four years training to fly in the military: first was her aviation pre-flight indoctrination in Pensacola, Florida, leading to primary flight training in Corpus Christi, Texas, to eventually flying the carrier-capable T-45 Goshawk out of Meridian, Mississippi.

“At each of my training schools I did my best,” Satz said, per press release. “I truly believe that showing up prepared and working diligently are two major keys to success.”

After Satz was trained on the F-35B, her final instruction was in survival evasion resistance and escape (SERE) on Aug. 2 before her patching ceremony and shipping out to join the Green Knights based in Iwakuni, Japan.

Bravo Zulu to our first female F-35B pilot — Capt. Anneliese Satz.

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In a press release, Satz thanked the military trainers who made all of her training possible.

“I’m very grateful for the instructors, the maintainers, and countless others at 501 who lent me their expertise and time while I was going through the syllabus.”

The young captain is not the only woman Marine to join the F-35 community recently—not even the only one this summer. Earlier this month, 24-year-old Lieutenant Catherine Stark was one of only two students from her flight school class to be selected to fly the F-35C, which is a variant of the fighter jet designed for aircraft carriers.

Comin' in HotMarine Corps F-35B II Lightning assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One taxis on the…

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The two bright, young female pilots shall join the list of women to fly in the Marines since it first permitted female pilots in 1993. The first woman aviator in the Marines was 2nd Lieutenant Sarah Deal, who flew a CH-53E heavy-lift helicopter. The first black woman to fly in the Marines was Catain Vernice Armour, who flew an AH-1W Cobra.